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August 5, 2012

Bing VS. Google: Can Bing Compete?

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For years now, Google has been the dominant force in search. Whether we are talking about market share or revenue derived from PPC advertising, Google reigns supreme.

Today we are going to talk about Google’s position as the search king and, whether or not Bing will ever be able to legitimately compete with them and what effect that will have on SEO strategies.

The Facts on Google:

* According to the most recent figures for the 2011 fiscal year, Google generated over $37 billion in revenue from PPC advertising.

* Google’s US Market Share is 66.2%

* Google’s Global Market Share is 81.7%

The Facts on Bing:

* According to the most recent figures for the 2011 fiscal year, Bing generated $1 billion in revenue from PPC advertising.

* Bing’s US Market Share is 15.2%

* Bing’s Global Market Share is 4.4%

Those numbers are just astonishing. Google is head and shoulders above Bing at this point. Now, while it is true that Google owes some of its advantage over Bing to the fact that they had a head start, there are other factors that have contributed as well.

Google’s algorithm, in my experience, is just simply better than Bing’s. I find more relevant, useful information and sites using Google than I do with Bing. Bing’s results also seem to be more erratic than Google’s as well, and that contributes to Google being the more useful and reliable search engine.

Because Google is more reliable, and delivers more relevant results, they end up with a larger share of the search market and more ad revenue.

Can Bing Close the Gap?

I think it is going to be extremely difficult for Bing to ever seriously compete with Google, but that doesn’t mean they are going to stop trying.

Bing recently has teamed with Facebook to integrate the social media giant into their search engine. This new feature allows you to incorporate your Facebook friends into your search, allowing you to chat with them while searching, as well as share results. Frankly, to me, this is nothing more than a gimmick. While I value my friends input, I prefer to make my own judgments regarding purchasing decisions or which restaurants I go to. While searching on Bing to find a certain type of restaurant, a particular product, or information in general, I have never even been tempted to ask any of my friends on Facebook for their help or input. As Bing puts it, they see people “tapping into the collective wisdom of their social network.” I don’t know about you, but wisdom is the last thing that most of my “friends” on Facebook have or share on a regular basis. Social media is a great thing and has many redeeming qualities, but helping me with my searching is one that I just don’t see myself, or many other people utilizing, at least not at this point. I can see people using the chat option to talk about things they would normally just talk about on Facebook itself while searching on Bing, but not utilizing it
for the reasons that Bing has promoted it for. It’s a nice gimmick, but I don’t see it helping Bing gain on Google’s market share.

Google has introduced their own social network, Google+. While it has many users, people just aren’t as engaged with it as they are Facebook. While logged into your Google+ account you receive personalized search results. I have yet to receive a useful personalized result while logged into my account. I am sure that eventually Google and Bing will figure out the best way to integrate social media into their search engines, but at this point their attempts don’t seem to be all that useful.

Another problem that Bing has is the fact they seem to be further differentiating their search algorithm from Google’s. I understand their desire to become their own unique search engine, but when Google is already doing things so well, why would you want to reinvent the wheel? In my opinion, this is going to cause more problems. If Bing and Google are ranking sites based on different criteria, it is inevitable that sites are going to have a hard time optimizing for both search engines. You can’t please everyone. If one optimization technique works for Google, but drops your rankings in Bing, then why would I even bother optimizing my sites for Bing considering their share of the search market? If SEO companies stop optimizing for Bing, then their results become even less relevant, and their search market share ends up shrinking. It becomes a vicious circle. Bing would be better off slightly tweaking their algorithm, but still base their rankings on Google’s criteria, while also trying to integrate other useful features. Reinventing the wheel is only going to further exacerbate their current problems.

The main issue I have with Bing, and the reason I think they will never compete with Google, is the fact they call themselves a decision engine. Why would anyone want Microsoft making their decisions for them? When you search using Bing they tend to give you results that include other search terms you did not intend to search for. Sometimes they are useful, but a lot of times they include search terms that have very little to do with what I am actually looking for. This can be very frustrating. It also leads to less relevant search results, which once again, is a big reason why Google has such a large share of the search market in comparison to Bing.

In conclusion

I don’t see Bing ever gaining a significant enough piece of the search market to seriously compete with Google. Google not only had a head start on Bing and delivers better search results, but it also has become part of popular culture. Many people today no longer say “I searched it,” or “Go search this.” They say “I Googled it,” or “Go Google this.” That alone will be a tremendous hurdle for Bing to climb.

The only hope Bing has is Google being penalized by the US government and other governments around the world for anti-trust violations (investigations have already begun). Remember that Bing is owned by Microsoft, and they know all too well about the consequences of anti-trust violations.


Joseph Piracci is an internet marketing expert with over 7 years of experience with SEO, SEM, SMM and E-commerce management. If you are in the need of any of the above services please contact Joe’s company, Predominant Domains, a Buffalo SEO Company.

42 Responses to “Bing VS. Google: Can Bing Compete?

    avatar Hmmm says:

    Microsoft had anti-trust lawsuits before as well, but they are still around. I don’t believe anti-trust will knock Google down. I don’t use Bing for anything except to look at their maps a couple times. XD But they’ve had a search engine for years. (It just wasn’t called Bing.) And I still never used it. I suppose Microsoft doesn’t like to not be “FIRST” in something. Well, consoles, search engines, and phones… They’re fighting a losing battle that they’ll never be first in.

    avatar David says:

    Wonderful read. Thank you.

    avatar Phil says:

    Bing can never be a Google. It has to develop a completely different way for Search and dominate that type of search. Right now, search is quite basic although very vast, but it isn’t too clever at finding solutions to problems or issues. That is still left for the human to trawl the information to decide what’s relevant and what isn’t.

    I think there is a way Bing can make it they just need to take a different approach and in doing so create vastly better results that are more relevant than todays search results.

    avatar Nicksey says:

    In my experience your comment “Google’s algorithm, in my experience, is just simply better than Bing’s. I find more relevant, useful information and sites using Google than I do with Bing.” is just completely incorrect and I could not disagree more. I am constantly frustrated by Google’s poor results regarding relevency. Yes Google has a massive market share but this is far from deserved.
    If I am searching for a product to buy, Google insists on serving up all the big names in the results first, so we get Amazon and all the major chains cluttering up the first page.
    I want to see specialists in a particular niche or field not lists of supermarkets that happen to stock a handful of whatever I am looking to buy. In my opinion Google’s big mistake is confusing general popularity with relevency. A major retailing group can have thousands of lines of products and they may get many thousands of links to their thousands of products but that just means they sell lots of different items, it does not mean that they are the most relevent result. What they should do is just count the links that any one website has that are relevent to the search query. If my query is about a DVD player then why not just count links relevant to that query, not just every link that website has that is not specific to my query. This way the results would be more accurate and more specific to my query and smaller specialists would be in the results. I already know what Amazon and the Supermarkets sell. I want information about websites that I don’t already know about.
    Anyone know a search engine that specifically excludes the big boys from their results?

    avatar sathish says:

    Good Article,

    Anything is possible.

    let us c, new search will take lead.

    avatar Rika Susan says:

    I wish it was possible for Bing to close the gap. I find that their search results usually more useful! Good article.

    avatar PGS says:

    Hardly surprising, MS are so far behind Google with search… however, I find their mapping better to use & have pretty close to no faith in Google for their other products.

    Really good article and subject yes I do agree with you I think Bing has a long way to even get close to Google I wish sometimes there was another alternative as Google just makes it so hard to get ranked for keywords nightmare as they keep changing their criteria. O well let’s hope that someone can topple Google.

    avatar Mike Beeson says:

    Hi Joseph – An interesting article. I’ve often wondered how Bing is getting on when I see their domain pop up occcasionally in my analytics list. To be honest, I’ve felt more like sending them a ‘Get Well’ card – but I fear it’s too late.

    The answer to the question ‘Can Bing compete?’ is a foregone conclusion in most people’s minds. I would personally like to see Google’s monopoly challenged. It can’t be healthy for one company to have such dominance in both the Pay Per Click and SEO fields. An alternative question might be: ‘How can Bing compete?’ Until technology changes and other ways of influencing businesses to buy online are found, it looks like Google is here to stay.

    avatar Phil says:

    I agree, unless Google does something extreamly stupid then i cant see Bing making much headway into googles share of the market, though i would like to see more competion in search engines

    avatar Dieter L. says:

    I actually like Bing’s search results more at the moment, and more and more people seem to think so. Obviously it is still no serious competition for google. For the last few month Google’s search results have been seriously diluted by showing multiply results of the same web-sites, sometimes even a whole page the same web-site. I find that very cheap, 3 results form the same site is OK, after that I see it as spam ..

    avatar BigJ says:

    I don’t find google as good as they were. Trouble is they have decided, somewhat arbitarily what constitutes a good website. The fact is, you can’t have a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, because other great websites that don’t fit their ideal, yet are still great websites are getting left out. Google should stop trying to tell webmasters what their website should be like, and just catalogue the good ones. Google is better for long tail searches, but IMHO Bing is better for more general searches. I use both.

    avatar Tate Mcgee says:

    Great read, but we always seem to forget history. Everything changes in time. No empire lasts forever. If it’s not Bing, it will be someone else who will rise above them. Google will dethrone itself in time because of it’s arrogance.

    avatar Kim says:

    “I find more relevant, useful information and sites using Google than I do with Bing.” I don’t understand how you can make this comment after the Penguin update. Many good relevant sites disappeared from Google where the same site still appear in Bing.

    I agree Bing has some huge hurdles to cross, but throughout history we have learned the bigger the hurdle the bigger the desire to jump higher.

    avatar seoservant says:

    After the Google Peguin update Bing result are more relevant.

    Google has 3 members on its board formerly from Amazon.com which creates a bias which is shown thru the new Google update in which Google now sends all consumer product searches to Amazon

    A more legitimate statement would be that Google gained its presence using better search, now they have leveraged that position and make so much money daily that they can do what they want.

    Since the Penguin update their revenue has gained 43% as small businesses now have to Pay ….period to rank or out rank Amazon or go out of business.

    Amazon is now contacting these small business and has an entire dept selling space on Amazon as ads for the positions they now hold.

    The other sites Google manually overrides are those associated with ChannelAdvisors which include Overstock and Sears

    Google and Amazon both spoke at their conference in Vegas a week before the Peguin update.

    After the Peguin update and the 700,000 notifications Google sent out in their mass online search genocide – the Jobless rate in America shot to an all time high since recession yet both Google and Amazon have over 10,000 new positions available.

    Google also has 22 lobbyist firms in position in DC. No company has that many lobbyist unless they are doing something wrong.

    Google is now taking advantage of their position and from here on out its all about control and money to satisfy the board of directors.

    If the American people ever catch on I feel they would use another search portal such as Bing – but Google is the media so America is pretty much spoken for.

    I always ask my clients how they found my websites and what they were searching for. 99% tell me they found my sites on yahoo or bing. I think there is a lesson to be learned there.

    avatar Stu Morris says:

    Great read Joseph,
    But like many other stories this one is beating a dead horse.. parden the expression. Bings ability or capabilties to capture Google in the global market share are just not going to happen. Even if Yahoo drops, Google would more than likely pic up most of that market share. But then again I suppose like all world powers, History shows you only stay on top for so long, but it won’t be bing filling the vacuum.

    avatar Worldwide Web Marketing Group says:

    Yes, Bing searches are more useful. Google has created an industry to keep web advertisers costs high…under the opuses of SEO. Wouldn’t be so bad but it seams there is a new twist every month to keep everyone BUSY and off balance. We are now spending 1/3 of our budget w/ Google and 2/3 w/Bing …. getting 22% more for our money. Thanks Google

    Hello Everyone,

    Thank you for commenting on my article. For all of you who are saying that Bing gives you better results, I respect your opinion, but I have to disagree. Just because people say that they found your site through Bing, and not through Google, doesn’t mean Bing is delivering more relevant results.

    I recently ran multiple tests with Bing and Google using local car dealers, dentists and plumbers. All the sites I used had a massive amount of good back-links and a high PR. When searching for certain related keywords in Google these these sites were high on the first page. When using Bing they were no where to be found. Do you know what results showed up in Bing? A ton of directory sites for new and used cars and dentists and plumbers. Bing results are full of spammy sites for a lot of keyword searches.

    Penguin did its job and got rid of a lot of irrelevant sites from the results. Did some good sites get caught up in the Penguin net? Yes, and that is unfortunate, but for the most part Penguin served it’s purpose.

    There is a lot of anger for Google out there and much of it comes from people whose sites were penalized. I understand that. I would be upset as well if it happened to me. However, I also understand that companies who dominate their market often are ridiculed and hated simply because they are the best.

    Google’s algorithm is simply better than Bing’s. This is my opinion. I respect everyone’s opinions, even those who disagree with mine.

    Thank you all again for commenting on my article. I believe that positive and constructive debate and conversation are a lost art form in this day and age. It is good to see it alive and well on this site.

    Great article

    I think that this generation will not see Bing competing with Google but may be with in the next generation a new giant will emerge, of course leaded by the next generation kids.

    Cesar M
    President
    Montes Electric, Inc
    Charlotte, NC

    avatar Michael says:

    What everyone in the world needs to do is have one day they boycott Google. Let Google know they arent as cool as they think they are.

    Google’s search results have been horrible the past few months I have no idea why this may be but they were really good at the beginning of the year and than turned to crap in April/May.

    I personally use Bing for my searching. The one thing I do not like about Bing is the fake virus alerts I always see, they need to remove that feature as I click on a site and it tells me the site has a virus, it seldom ever does??

    People of the world lets get together and boycott google, drop their revenues, drop their search % and watch the “now sleeping Giant” wake up and give us what they promised and what they use to give us, relevant search results.

    We made Google who they are and we can make Google disappear.

    IMHO within the next 5 years Google will no longer be the search engine of choice…Who will it be? Who knows but it wont be Google :)

    Great article. Websites vary greatly in the information they provide and the quality of structure and design. Unfortunately the niche suppliers just haven’t got the same finances for SEO like the big businesses like the supermarkets and Amazon – therefore can get left behind or miss out on high search rankings. A good search engine I would recommend is http://www.dogpile.com. This website search directory combines results from all the major web search engines – like Google, Yahoo, Bing and Yandex.

    I don’t agree that Bing shouldn’t try to reinvent the wheel for search engines. Firefox and Chrome clearly showed that it was a great idea for browsers. They just have to make Bing’s search engine better. So far I’ve been disappointed with Bing. Especially the search for pictures.

    As a site owner I’m really ticked off by Google and Bing, and I’d love an actual competitor to make Google and Bing a little more interested in showing relevant results rather than paid results.

    avatar Mark Cowtan says:

    I use both Google and Bing equally. Sometimes one produces crappy results while the other does well. Depending on the term, its still a bit of a crap shoot, and they all have some way to go before they can give us information providers FIRST and sites trying to sell you something second, and directory sites last!

    Companies like Blekko have some great ideas for improving search by filtering out, but they just don’t have the bankroll to ever emerge as anything more that tiny niche players or acquisition targets.

    Anti-trust may be our best bet!

    avatar Gary Archer says:

    I agree with Nicksey; Google delivers way too much results in favor of the big corporations and government websites. Bing is more relevant, supplying information geared for the real world search. The time will come when Google implodes with its bloated monstrosity of an algorithm. Bing should stay the course and progress will befriend them.

    avatar tony says:

    I advertise with both the Google Network and the Bing/Yahoo network…I wonder why no one mentioned that the Yahoo results and the Bing results are practically the same…They are powered by the same database and on my sites I find both Bing and Yahoo behind the Google numbers but every month they seem to be creeping up. Added together the Yahoo and Bing numbers are, depending on the month, about a 1/3rd of the Google numbers….as the fab 4 say
    “Must Admit it’s getting better, getting better all the time”

    I think that you may be right. Bing has a long way to go to catch up with Google. I think that sooner or later someone with enough money will figure a way around anti-trust and combine the two.

    avatar bill says:

    Yes, google is bigger than bing but google didnt accept this site http://product2you.tk/ for advertising.
    Bing didnt ask anything

    I think google is too boastful.

    avatar Kelly says:

    Lots of feedback on this one. I don’t use Bing much unless I get poor results from Google. Happens sometimes when searching for less popular topics.

    Artnip Dementia Signage for the Home
    http://www.zazzle.com/artnip

    avatar geoff97 says:

    The consequences for Microsoft’s anti-trust violations were more or less nothing.
    They were found guilty, but then the US government changed from Clinton to GW Bush and there were no penalties applied.

    avatar Achim says:

    I am a google user for years and I optimise for google and not for bing. However, constant changes in googles algorithm are annoying and also a risk for google. Public opinion is not something you can take for granted which means if google continues their power play taking over the world they will eventually loose their friends.

    Google used to be the cool kids. Now they getting greedy mainstream corporates that misuse their position of power. Google is getting way too nosy for my liking and should very clearly adhere more to privacy concepts, not because they have to, but because they want to.

    avatar Henk says:

    Bing has every opportunity to grow, as Google upsets many clients simply by they high and mighty attitude and I see many of the mistakes that microsoft made are starting to reflect in Google as they take things for granted. However unless Bing also understands there is a bigger world than America / Canada / Europe they have no hope of building loyalty from many users.

    avatar BobP says:

    I bounce back and forth between bing and google depending on what I find for my query. IMHO both should have the option [x] Search for what I asked for. When the title of a site known to be in the listings don’t show up in the first 50 pages of results and all sorts of utter nonsense does, there is a problem. Both are hard on new sites, first they appear in searches, then are lost on purpose, then maybe they get back into the visble listings. Lots of sites where only the tos or privacy or sitemap is found. Bing also has the problem some sites don’t display fully in IE due to a parent container (KB927917) bug, that’s gotta be bad for business. The others like Gigablast squander their oppertunity by not finding newly submitted sites for months, what’s up with that. Also b and g have no real way to be contacted for a response, just feedback they read, maybe.

    avatar Barb says:

    I agree with those who feel Bing’s results are better and more relevant than Google’s. What I’m finding is more results from several years ago rather than what is current.

    Sites with more current information are probably the ones that G feels are “unimportant” so I’m stuck with info from 2010 and further back. I go to Bing for more relevant and current results.

    avatar Sam says:

    I believe that Bing will mount a serious challenge, or at least will try. Google are too well established, and any kind of action that dismounts Google will no doubt have major affects on Bing also. At the end of the day Bing have no chance IMO.

    avatar Slim says:

    Interesting article. Bing could substantially increase their market share if they did a better job of promoting their Reward Program. I know it is a gimmick, but with the right publicity about it, the Reward Program could increase their faithful users. Also, if they provided more tools for webmasters, that would improve their overall position.

    By the way, what about the other ‘known’ search engines AOL, ASK, and let’s see one called Yahoo. Are their market share so small that they are not a factor?

    @Slim

    Thanks for the comment on my article Slim. AOL and Ask’s market share are too small to include them as a factor. Yahoo’s U.S. market share is smaller than Bing’s, although their global market share is a little larger. The reason I did not mention Yahoo! in the article is because Bing powers Yahoo’s search results, Bing’s market share has been growing while Yahoo’s has been shrinking, and because Bing has been making a strong marketing and advertising push for their search engine while Yahoo! has not in recent years.

    I do not consider Yahoo! to be a threat of any kind to Google and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Yahoo! search eventually absorbed completely by Bing in the future.

    Thanks again for the comment Slim.

    avatar Leo says:

    I think Bing will provide an alternative in the field of search.

    And it may do something in some vertical areas.

    avatar Lou says:

    As a general user, I am getting fed up with Googles search results. They give me nothing but irrelevant results. They have put too much weight on domain ‘authority’, and this is polluting the top 2 pages with results that have nothing to do with what I am looking for, just because said ‘authoritative’ site mentioned one of the terms I searched for…. ONCE, somewhere on the page. It been like this for at least a year now.

    A quick example, I was looking for the POP3 settings for a mail service I use…. I had to scroll Google for 3 pages before I gave up. I used DuckDuckGo, and got the info I was looking for immediately.

    I won’t use Bing, they are just as evil as Google. I use DuckDuckGo a LOT more now. As a Google user for at least a decade now, I just give up with them. I can’t seem to get the information I am searching for with them.

    avatar J Conlin says:

    Google’s drive to control EVERYTHING is going to backfire. The new (or as we call it) “No Privacy Policy,” scanning all emails so that it can be integrated into Google searches, tracking all activity in the almighty quest for total domination of online advertising. And: bidding for PPC prices on product searches? Does anyone really believe that big, major ($10,000+ month advertisers) are not NOT going to bid so high that it will be economically impossible for small, medium and even many large national stores to compete?

    Is Google so Arrogant that they don’t think customers will realize that the product search results are dominated by Overstock and the like? The Penguin and Panda updates demonstrate that Google wants to shape the face of the Internet.

    Google is not the God of the Internet, they just think they are. And their Pride and Greed will eventually bit their butts. Will they always be a main and perhaps the dominant search engine? Certainly for the near and mid-term future. However, they are positioning themselves perfectly to let Bing make great strides. And, we still don’t know what Yahoo will bring now that a career-long Google is at the helm.

    I agree with you on this. The stats already say a lot about Bing’s catching up. I’ve been a Google user for years, too, and though I’ve tried Bing a few times, I always switch back to Google.

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